York U to award honorary degrees to “Hurricane” Carter and Thomas Brzustowski at fall convocation


TORONTO, October 12, 2005 -- York University will confer honorary degrees on justice activist and former pro boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, and leading scholar, research advocate and administrator Thomas Brzustowski, during its fall convocation ceremonies, Friday, Oct. 14 and Saturday, Oct. 15, 2005.


"We are proud to bestow honorary degrees on Mr. Carter and Mr. Brzustowski,” said Lorna R. Marsden, York University President and Vice Chancellor. “Rubin Carter’s personal journey for justice helped to mobilize the civil rights movement and inspired a generation. We are also indebted to Thomas Brzustowski, who has helped the Canadian public and industry understand the vital importance of university research to this country’s future.”


A biographical sketch of the honorary degree recipients is below. Recipients are listed in order of ceremony:


Rubin Carter, honorary Doctor of Laws degree
2:30 p.m., Friday, October 14, 2005

Rubin Carter dedicates his time and energy to securing justice for the wrongly convicted in Canada, the United States, and in a growing number of other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Mexico. After reaching international prominence as the number one contender for the world middleweight championship, Mr. Carter was wrongly convicted by an all-white jury for the 1966 murders of three whites. He was sentenced to three life terms of imprisonment, but never ceased to maintain his innocence. In 1974 he published his autobiography The 16th Round, which, together with recantations of two key witnesses, garnered a re-trial. Incredibly, the state secured another wrongful conviction. In February 1988, after a 22-year struggle for justice, all indictments were finally dismissed.

A former executive director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC), Mr. Carter has testified before the United States Congress about the need for preserving federal review of state court convictions, and was invited to the White House to speak with President Clinton on issues related to the death penalty in America. Mr. Carter has also addressed the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York, and has spoken alongside President Nelson Mandela at the first World Reconciliation Day in Australia.

Mr. Carter is now a sought-after inspirational speaker. He has brought his message to hundreds of audiences drawn from virtually every industry and profession, as well as students from many of North America’s leading schools, colleges and universities.

Thomas Brzustowski, honorary Doctor of Science degree

10:30 a.m., Saturday October 15, 2005

Thomas Brzustowski has been a leader in Canada and internationally in the movement to raise awareness of the importance of scientific research and innovation. From 1995 to 2005, he served as President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). His presidency at NSERC was marked by a remarkable increase of industry support for research and innovation in universities, and NSERC programs supporting education and training have flourished. He
is currently RBC Professor in the University of Ottawa’s School of Management, and RBC Chair in the Commercialization of Innovation. He also acts as Senior Advisor to the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo. In this new role, Brzustowski continues to help Canadians understand why research and innovation is so crucial to Canada’s future.


Brzustowski graduated with a B.A.Sc. in Engineering Physics from the University of Toronto in 1958, and a Ph.D. in Aeronautical Engineering from Princeton in 1963. He was a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Waterloo from 1962 to 1987, teaching and carrying out research in thermodynamics and combustion. He served as Chair of Mechanical Engineering from 1967 to 1970 and as Vice-President, Academic of the University from 1975 to 1987. Brzustowski served as deputy minister in the Government of Ontario from 1987 to 1995, first in the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, and later in the Premier's Council. He was appointed President of NSERC in October 1995, reappointed in 2000, and recently resigned in September of 2005.

Brzustowski is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and of the Royal Society of Canada.

Graduating classes attending the Friday afternoon ceremony are: Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Education, Osgoode Hall Law School and the Schulich School of Business.


Graduating classes attending the Saturday ceremony are: Joseph E. Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies, Faculty of Fine Arts, Glendon College, Faculty of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Science and Engineering, and the School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences.


All convocation ceremonies will be held on York's Keele Campus, 4700 Keele Street, in the Convocation Pavilion located between Osgoode Hall Law School and the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies. Campus maps are available at: http://www.yorku.ca/yorkweb/maps/keele.htm


For a complete listing of the October 2005 Convocation ceremony schedule, click here. York University’s fall convocation ceremonies will be streamed live over the Internet. To view the ceremonies click here.



York University is the leading interdisciplinary research and teaching university in Canada. York offers a modern, academic experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in Toronto, Canada’s most international city.  The third largest university in the country, York is host to a dynamic academic community of 50,000 students and 7,000 faculty and staff, as well as 180,000 alumni worldwide. York’s 10 faculties and 21 research centres conduct ambitious, groundbreaking research that is interdisciplinary, cutting across traditional academic boundaries.  This distinctive and collaborative approach is preparing students for the future and bringing fresh insights and solutions to real-world challenges. York University is an autonomous, not-for-profit corporation.



For more information, contact:
Melissa Hughes, Media Relations, York University, 416-736-2100 x22097/mehughes@yorku.ca